Patrick Peterson (LSU) and Prince Amukamara (Nebraska) are widely considered the 2011 draft’s best two cornerback prospects. It caught my eye, then, that Russ Lande of Sporting News recently ranked Smith ahead of both Peterson and Amukamara as the position’s top draft-eligible.
Smith left school with only three career interceptions, but a closer look reveals a potential shutdown cornerback. As Gregg Rosenthal put it, “the Nnamdi Asomugha of the Big 12.”
According to statistics compiled by the University of Colorado, Smith was targeted just 20 times in man coverage throughout his 12-start senior season. He allowed 11 completions (55 percent) and one touchdown. The Big 12 has a reputation as one of the most pass-happy college football conferences. Clearly, offensive coordinators shied away from Smith.
Smith also garnered first-team All-Big 12 honors from the coaches, despite not picking off a single pass. It’s an obvious sign of respect.
The Colorado website, cubuffs.com, lists Smith with a 4.35 forty time at 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds. Though he currently ranks just fifth in Mike Mayock’s cornerback rankings, it seems like a good bet that Smith could be one of the biggest “risers” as the 2011 draft approaches.